Recent writers on
Indian philosophy have re-iterated the entire charge made by gamkara and
Ramanuja and have shown that it is a kind of eclecticism, 'a putting
together of several partial truths' without a proper synthesis. It is
therefore characterized as a sort of compromise philosophy. The
half-hearted attempt of Jaina enquiry as expressed in. Saptabhangi stops
at giving partial truth together and does not attempt to overcome the
opposition implied in them by a proper synthesis.
But if we mean by
definiteness unconditional and absolute assertion, then the
'indefiniteness' of the doctrine is a logical necessity. As
Radhakrishnanpoints out  the criticism of the Saptabhangi doctrine as
of no practical utility is an expression of personal opinion and as such
need not be considered.
Samkara also says
that the Saptabhangi doctrine is inconsistent with the other views of
Jaina philosophy. The assertion of existence, non-existence and
indescribability are alike applicable to the doctrine of the soul and the
categories. Similarly, the final release may exist and not exist and may
The dialectic of
Syadvada is inconsistent with the Jaina philosophy. It could not have
sprung from the same teacher and the same philosophical background. "As a
mere 'anaikantika' (sic) theory of predication, the Syadvada must return
upon itself and end in doubting
himself. Prof. Radhakrishnanafter mentioning the strong points of
Syadvada, says "Yet in our opinion the Jaina logic leads to a monistic
idealism (by which he means 'the hypothesis of the absolute') and so far
as the Jainas shrink from it they are untrue to their own logic". But
in the Saptabhangi tarangini we read a counter argument: If the final
release and heavenly bliss are eternal and existing, where is the chance
for samasara and the attempt to obtain moksa? If the other alternative is
the only truth, what is the purpose of preaching such an ideal which is
impossible to attain? Radhakrishnanpoints out that the Saptabhangi
doctrine is not in consistent with the other views of the Jainas. It is a
logical corollary of the Anekantavada. All that the Jainas say is that
everything is of a complex nature and the real reconciles the difference
in itself. Attributes which are contradictors in the abstract co-exist in
the world of experience.
pointed out that contradictory attributes such as existence and
non-existence cannot at the same time belong to one thing any more than
light and darkness. However, he seems to accept the distinction between
dravya and paryfiya, substance and modes. He also sees that the substance
has permanence; paryaya implied change.
predications give severally partial truths. The truths presented by them
are alternative truths from different points of view; and the seven
predications would present a complete comprehensive picture of reality. It
is neither scepticism nor agnosticism, for each individual truth is valid.
It is supplemented and harmonized by the other predication into a single
comprehensive picture of reality, as we get a harmony in orchestra by the
combination of different notes.
With all their
criticisms, BELVALKAR makes Syadvada a most searching characteristic.
Radhakrishnan observes "Samkara and Ramanuja criticized the Saptabhangi
view on the ground of the impossibility of contradictory attributes
co-existing in the same thing". After quoting the relevant passage from
Ramanuja he proceeds to say: "The Jainas admit that a thing cannot have
self-contradictory attributes at the same time and in the same sense. All
that they say is that everything is of a complex nature, and reconciles
differences in itself. Attributes which are contradictory in the abstract
co-exist in life and experience. The tree is moving in that its branches
are moving and it is not moving since it is fixed to its place in the
VI. In Western
thought, at the time of the Greeks, when there was intellectual confusion
due to the conflicting theories presented by the different philosophers,
several approaches to problems were possible. Parmenides had emphasized
'Being'; Heraclitus had talked of change; Empedocles and Anaxagoras had
thought that the reality consists of a plurality of substances. The
atomists left the intellectual confusion. It was difficult to reconcile
these conflicting views. Protagoras escaped the problem and said,
Homomensure. The Sophists left the wise to wrangle with them and the
quarrel of the universe let be.
But the Jainas did
not accept such an escapist attitude. They faced facts squarely and tried
to find out what was common between the conflicting views of the
philosophers. This was the Anekanta attitude of the Jainas.
The Jainas appeal
to experience and say that a priori reasoning independent of experience is
incompetent to yield insight into he nature of the real. The Jainas steer
clear of conflicting views of reality. They make us aware of the fact that
intellectual dogmatism is not healthy and a many sided approach to the
problem will develop in us a sense of tolerance and respect for others.
Intellectual Ahimsa is most necessary, especially in an age when
conflicting ideologies are trying to claim the monopoly of truth for
themselves and give rise to intolerance and hatred. We live in a world of
fear, distrust. It is time we tried to understand each other in an
atmosphere of give and take. We must find out what is common between us
rather than emphasize the differences. The Anekanta view is not sceptism,
because it is not founded on doubt and distrust ; it is not solipsism,
because it is based on an objective determination of things; but it
presents acatholic approach to the problems of life. Bertrand Russell has
mentioned that truth or falsity refers to propositions and this is based
on facts. An affirmative proposition corresponds to the objective facts :
it is to be true. Similarly, a negative proposition must have a
corresponding objective fact if it is to be true. He mentions this as
'negative fact'. Thus we find that contradictory predications are not
merely subjective, but they have an objective basis.
Thus we find that
Anekantavada manifests itself as the most consistent form of realism in
Indian Philosophy. It has allowed the principle of distinction to run its
full course until reaches its logical terminus, the theory of minifoldness
of reality and knowledge. It postulates the multiplicity of the ultimate
reals constituting the cosmos. The Anekanta view of reality permeates
every aspect of life and experience.
of coherence comes nearer to Anekanta attitude of the Jainas. He
elucidates his attitude to reality by presenting the complete problem of
the metaphysics, of substance and of flux as a 'full expression of the
union of two notions.' Substance expresses permanence and flux emphasizes
impermanence and change. Reality is to be found in the synthesis of the
two. he interprets the lines:
falls the eventide'
by showing that
the two lines cannot be torn apart in this way; and we find that a
wavering balance between the two is a characteristic of the greater number
of philosophers. Whitehead shows that reality can be best understood
by the integral view-point in which the ultimate postulates of per-manence
and flux are harmoniously blended. Heraclitus emphasized the partial truth
of change and flux. Perminedes
permanence and being as the reality. Reality is to be found in the
blending with the two view points into a comprehensive whole.
coherence would mean that the fundamental ideas presuppose each other. In
isolation they are meaningless. It does not mean they are definable in
terms of each other, though they are relevant to each other. 'No entity'
can be conceived in complete abstraction from the system of the universe,
and that it is the business of speculative philosophy to exhibit this
truth. This character is its conherence'.
He also says: 'The
systematisation of knowledge cannot be conducted in watertight
compartments. All general truths condition each other; and the limits of
their application cannot be adequately defined apart from their
correlation by yet wider generalities. 
This is the
attitude of the Jainas also. The Jaina emphasis on the material and
spiritual as a synthesis of opposites leads to a concrete universal
involving unity in diversity. It is comparable to Jasper's 'unfanatical
absoluteness'. Jainas in their theory of Anekanta illustrate a
'non-attach-ment of partial truths; and they have made creative use of
-the contradictions by removing the sting out of them, Heideggar presents
a similar point of view.